04/23/2002 11:00PM

Fairmount track report


COLLINSVILLE, Ill. - Fellow Canadians and longtime friends David Cross and David Gall paid a visit to Fairmount on Sunday afternoon. Cross, best known for saddling 1983 Kentucky Derby winner Sunny's Halo, was based in Southern California before taking a break from the training grind. He plans to return to Canada this spring and open a public stable at Woodbine. Gall retired from riding at the conclusion of the 1999 season at 57 with 7,396 career wins, good for fourth highest all-time. He is in his third season as a trainer in Illinois.

* Jockey Mike James broke a leg last October but is back riding in top form this year and took both ends of the daily double Friday night. In the first he was aboard Pont Aven for trainer Alan Crocker. He won the second with Penny One, trained by Steve Manley. The all-James double returned $66. Manley saddled another winner in the fifth when R K Kokat ($5.80) won under leading rider Tommy Pompell.

* Jockey Gary Kurek. who turned 50 over the winter, has been a steady force in the Fairmount jockey standings for 25 years. Kurek shows no signs of slowing down and booted home a triple Saturday night, winning with Pats Love Bug ($7.20) in the fourth, Got Um Smoke Um ($5.60) in the fifth, and Lee Prize ($8.80) in the ninth. Kurek's experience was best exemplified by his ride on Pats Love Bug, who settled early but rallied in the stretch to get up near the wire.